Stephen 09/05/2017 06:16:46
Stephen Dodge
Digital Director
5 min read

There’s currently a lot of talk about automation becoming the next major shift in the marketing landscape that will revolutionise how businesses communicate with their audiences.

So with so much potential why are we witnessing a ‘wait awhile’ approach, with Perth businesses choosing to hold fire, rather than jumping on the Marketing Automation bandwagon?

Marketing Automation is a generic term that refers to software that helps you to automate marketing actions by using events and triggers to deliver personalised messages to your audiences at various stages of their buying journey.

There are an ever-increasing number of platforms being developed and released to the market such as Marketo, Hubspot, Pardot and Eloqua, and  all of which generally integrate with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, and rely on sales functions and marketing functions working closely together.

According to Salesforce (State of marketing report 2017) at a global level 61% of marketing leaders are currently using Marketing Automation platforms and an additional 21% are planning on implementing this in the next two years.

Whilst there is no credible local research currently available, from our perspective, Perth businesses appear very much late to the Marketing Automation table, despite the growing success stories on the international and national stage.

marketing_Automation

Based on my observations, the main reasons Perth organisations are lagging behind are as follows:

1) Resourcing 

Perth has a limited pool of talent with genuine marketing automation specialisation, both on the client-side and agency-side. This has meant no one is driving the marketing automation agenda within organisations.

Marketing automation is a labour intensive long-term strategy, that requires a diverse range of skills: From content marketing, to website development, to customer journey mapping, to CRM integration. Therefore, most organisations do not have the resources or capacity to implement marketing automation strategies effectively, and keep it going for the long haul. 

2) Sophistication

Effective marketing automation requires deep knowledge of your sales processes and your customer’s buying journey - which a surprisingly high number of Perth-based organisations lack. 

Organisations making the most of marketing automation have a full Customer Experience (CX) strategy already in place, and also a customer nurture strategy in place at some level. 

Whilst this is certainly changing, Perth has historically lagged behind in this area – so jumping straight into marketing automation is a leap too far for many.  

3) CRM Infrastructure

A CRM system is the heart of most marketing automation strategies. Many organisations do not have a sophisticated CRM allowing them to fully track a customer’s buying journey, which makes the implementation of marketing automation problematic.

Implementing a new CRM system can be a very large project that involves buy-in from the entire organisation and therefore a major barrier to marketing automation implementation 

4) Cost

Although the long-term return of marketing automation are abundant, implementation and ongoing management does not come cheap. Yearly, licencing fees, for example, generally start at around $10-20K for entry-level platforms, and head well into six figures for enterprise level solutions. 

When you add setup, integration and ongoing management costs, it can prove cost prohibitive for many – particularly in the current economic climate. 

5) Risk and Culture

Given the late adoption by Perth businesses, many organisations see inherent risk in being the ‘first-mover’. When there are no competitors and benchmarks, demonstrating marketing automation ROI to decision makers can be difficult.   

In many instances, Marketing Automation requires a patient approach to lead generation and nurture. Marketing automation helps to attract prospects at the top of the funnel, and then nurture them so they are qualified before a sales staff member contacts them. This is a big shift for many organisations, who’s traditional sales culture is to contact the prospect at the very first point of contact in order to convince them in person the product or service is right for them. 

What next?

Despite these obstacles and Perth’s slow start, I am starting see sentiment change with many organisations planning for marketing automation in the next 1-2 years as digital continues to become their most important marketing strategy. 

For those who are struggling for organisation buy-in there are a number of approaches I would recommend:

  • Try implementing marketing automation at a basic level and get some runs on the board. For example, Campaign Monitor includes basic marketing automation, where workflows can be set-up to automate emails based on users interaction with previous emails. Trial a few email campaigns and learn from the success and failures. This will help you build a case and demonstrate ROI at a fraction of the cost of implementing a full marketing automation system.
  • Start planning for marketing automation now to future proof for when your organisation is ready. For example, if your organisation is undergoing a CRM selection project, ensure the CRM can integrate with marketing automation platforms when needed in the future. Similarly, if you are developing a new website, consider Content Management Systems (CMS) and their inbuilt marketing automation or integration capabilities.
  • Build out several scenarios of what a good marketing automation workflow would look like for your organisation and present this to your team. In my experience a well thought out visual workflow with real use cases creates interest and excitement in most organisations – they start to see the potential.

Of course, Equilibrium has experience in all of these approaches, so should you like to find out more don’t hesitate to get in contact.